United Voice poll shows Swan constituents favour candidate who supports penalty rates

United Voice poll shows Swan constituents favour candidate who supports penalty rates

A POLL conducted by United Voice last month revealed more than half of constituents in the federal seat of Swan would vote for a candidate who supported penalty rates.

The poll of 765 people was conducted by ReachTEL on behalf of the hospitality union.

Results showed 50.5 per cent of those polled would be less likely to vote for a candidate who does not support penalty rates.

However, just 46.5 per cent opposed cutting penalty rates for people working outside normal hours including weekends and public holidays.

United Voice WA secretary Carolyn Smith said the poll showed West Australians did not want to see a cut to weekend rates.

“Any cuts to weekend rates will mean a sudden pay cut to hundreds of thousands West Australians who can’t afford it and don’t deserve it,” Ms Smith said.

“Weekends still mean something for West Australians. For those who serve us in restaurants or shops, care for our elderly or for us in hospitals and for those who protect us, weekends mean work and time away from family. Penalty rates are compensation for this.”

She said any change would affect people who work in peak and unfavourable times.

“Workers in hospitality earn as little as $17.79 per hour – permanent weekday rate – they earn two-thirds less than the average median weekly wage,” she said.

“Cuts in weekend rates go straight to the pockets of business owners and is taken from workers.”

What the candidates say:

Steve Irons, Liberal

The Coalition Government is not going to cut penalty rates. The Coalition appreciates the significance of penalty rates to workers, especially the low paid.

The Fair Work Commission is conducting a review of penalty rates in awards. This review was instigated by the previous Labor Government and is required under the terms of the Fair Work Act as passed by the Gillard/Rudd Government.

The Government’s very firm view is that penalty rates should continue to be set by the independent Fair Work Commission and not the Government.”

Tammy Solonec, Labor

When it comes to cutting penalty rates for low paid workers, the Turnbull Liberal Government shows a unity of purpose.

Only Labor will defend penalty rates against the efforts of Mr Turnbull’s Liberals to cut them. We now know that more than 60 members of Mr Turnbull’s team want to cut penalty rates.

At a time when we are facing the slowest wages growth on record, Labor supports workers’ penalty rates and will oppose Mr Turnbull’s attempts to cut them.

As a human rights lawyer I will always support human rights including important civil and political rights that make for a fairer society.

Sarah Nielsen-Harvey, Greens

Many people, especially students and young people, rely on penalty rates to survive. Weekend penalty rates, including a higher rate for Sundays, need to be protected.

This literally means the difference between make or break for people, and whether they can pay their rent, electricity or water bill on time. It means the difference between breakfast, lunch and dinner.